The top four nations in the World Rugby Men's Rankings will contest the Rugby World Cup 2019 semi-finals after South Africa climbed one place to fourth on the back of ending the dreams of hosts Japan.
New Zealand are the only team to remain stationary in the top five, increasing their rating by 1.5 points after sweeping aside Ireland 46-14 in the second quarter-final on Saturday.
England, their semi-final opponents, now lead the chasing pack after climbing above Wales on the back of their 40-16 defeat of Australia - the margin of victory meaning Wales would be unable to overhaul them even had they beaten France more convincingly than 20-19.
Ireland's defeat had lifted South Africa into fourth and they retain that position after beating the Brave Blossoms 26-3 at Tokyo Stadium.
Extended highlights of Japan v South Africa at Rugby World Cup 2019
Japan had briefly risen to their highest ever ranking after Australia's loss to England, but their defeat 24 hours later saw the Wallabies regain that place and France also climb one to seventh despite losing to Wales, albeit only because they lost fewer rating points than the Brave Blossoms.
No one connected with English rugby will ever forget the annus mirabilis of 2003 but finally Martin Johnson and co have some serious competition. While Eddie Jones’s squad are still 80 minutes short of their ultimate ambition, it is impossible to recall any Red Rose side, ancient or modern, playing better than this.
If it sounds faintly unreal to report that New Zealand, the tournament favourites and previously unbeaten in 18 World Cup matches dating back to 2007, could conceivably have been beaten by 30 unanswered points that is the plain, unvarnished truth. Their dreams of becoming the first team to win three consecutive Webb Ellis Cups were not so much dashed on a humid evening as sliced and diced by a bunch of sword-wielding Samurai warriors.
No need for a super over to settle this particular Anglo-Kiwi sporting contest or a slide-rule to decide where this effort ranked in recent times. Not since that damp Sydney night 16 years ago has English rugby enjoyed a more stunning outcome.
In all the assorted landmarks – Jones has become the first coach to secure two World Cup victories over New Zealand and his team are into their first final since 2007 – it was the way England did it that will stick longest in the memory. Their forwards knew they had to play the collective game of their lives and duly did so. Maro Itoje was absolutely everywhere and, along with Tom Curry, Sam Underhill and Courtney Lawes, produced a world-class performance when it mattered most.
Short form highlights of Wales v South Africa in the Rugby World Cup 2019 semi-final. Extended highlights will be published at 19:50pm (GMT+9) on Monday.
Wales' World Cup dream ended in Yokohama as they made another painful semi-final exit after losing 19-16 to South Africa.
The Springboks will face England in next Saturday's final following fly-half Handre Pollard's match-winning penalty four minutes from time.
It was completely different fayre served up by England and the All Blacks 24 hours earlier, and the media have been rather critical of Wales and Rugby Championship winners South Africa in the aftermath.
"Hey, Maro, you fiercely determined fellow, here's a wee silver gift to symbolise all the hurt of losing a Rugby World Cup final. Please chuck it round your neck, oh and don't forget to smile, too, thanks"
Far from being arrogant, Maro Itoje's refusal to wear his runners-up medal in the post-match presentation on Sunday night should instead be viewed for what it really is – just massive disappointment from an ultra competitor.
The actions of the England lock following the 32-12 defeat to the Springboks in Yokohama just prove how much fire is in that 25-year-old's belly – a heat which should in turn warm the hearts of his team's fans, and coach Eddie Jones, for what lies ahead.
And athletes are entitled to do with their medals what they want - many of the England squad were obviously comfortable enough to keep them on. But fair play to those who couldn't bear it. It doesn't make them arrogant. Worse crimes would be refusing to go up on stage at all, or shunning shaking hands with their opponents.
Then what about winning teams? They're not labelled as arrogant or ungracious when they lap up all the glory, are they? "Excuse me, Siya, you sensational skipper, you, umm, do you mind just being a wee bit more respectful to the feelings of others while you hoist that Webb Ellis Cup aloft?"
How often are we calling for more emotion from our sportspeople? That is what competition is all about. You need to be disappointed when losing, and it's actually good to be seen to be striving for the top instead of accepting second place.
Perhaps the outraged brigade could do with some context around the personalities of Itoje and Sinckler. Both are among the hardest-edged players that one could come across on a field, never shy of a decent sledge.